"We are honored that the chief justice of Massachusetts's highest court, and the leader of all the judiciary in this state, has agreed to be our commencement speaker," said Associate Dean for Administration Michael Cassidy. "It will make the ceremony particularly noteworthy and memorable for our graduates. The varied accomplishments she has achieved in her distinguished legal career are something for our graduates to emulate."
Marshall became only the second woman to serve on the SJC in its more than 300-year history when she was appointed associate justice by Governor Paul Cellucci in November of 1996. Cellucci named Marshall as chief justice in September of 1999, and she began her term the next month following her confirmation by the Governor's Council.
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall.
In her first address as chief justice, Marshall called on the state's lawyers to make their services affordable and to advocate for social justice.
"While experience will expand and deepen my perspectives, I can tell you now that I have the most straightforward vision," Marshall said. "Simply put, we must be a national model of excellence in every aspect of our work throughout the judicial branch."
A native of South Africa, Marshall graduated from Witwaterstrand University in Johannesburg in 1966. That same year she was elected as president of the National Union of South African Students, and served in that capacity until 1968 when she came to the United States to pursue her graduate studies.
After receiving her master's degree from Harvard University, and her juris doctorate from Yale Law School, Marshall was an associate, and later a partner, in the Boston law firm of Csapler & Bok, and then a partner in the Boston law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart. Before her appointment to the Supreme Judicial Court, she was vice president and general counsel of Harvard University.
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